Mary in the Scriptures

References to Mary in Holy Scripture are admittedly sparse, but those instances are very strategic in the story of the Gospel.

She is prophesied in the opening chapters of Genesis, portrayed in the Gospels for her part in the Incarnation, and finally described in grandeur in the last book of the New Testament. From Genesis to Revelation Mary is described playing a key part in the Gospel story.

The first reference to Mary is found in Genesis 3:15, which is known as the protoevangelium, or “first Gospel”:

GENESIS 3:15
And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.

Here, in the earliest chapters of Genesis, God details how he will save humanity. If the writer did not want to emphasize the role of Mary, he could have simply removed the added emphasis on the woman. But he did not, and these words were chosen carefully to stress the important role of Mary in the Gospel. In this prophecy there are three main characters, Jesus, Mary, and Satan. These three characters will again appear in Revelation.

In Luke we are told how Mary received the news that she would give birth to by the angel Gabriel,

LUKE 1:28-33
“Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!” But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus… Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?” And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God… Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.”

She is indeed the most blessed of women for she conceived, gave birth to and nurtured the Son of God. And in case one missed it, it is repeated again in scripture (Luke 1:42). Not only is she blessed among women, but we are told she found favor with God. She had so lived her life that she was chosen among all the women in the world to bear the Son of God. When she said, “Let it be to me according to your word” she became the first person to accept Christ as their Saviour, as well as to literally have Christ dwelling in her. One of the ways early Christians referred to Mary was as “the first of the redeemed.”

The last words ascribed to Mary in the New Testament are found in the Gospel of John. At the wedding in Cana, when they have run out of wine, she tells the servants,

JOHN 2:5
“Whatever He says to you, do it”

This scripture along with “Let it be to me according to your word” are examples that Mary has left behind for us to follow. As Mary did, so should all Christians, live a life submitted completely to the will of God.

Though John has the last recorded words of Mary, there is much more to be found of her in Revelation.

REVELATION 12:1-9
Now a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a garland of twelve stars. Then being with child, she cried out in labor and in pain to give birth. And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great, fiery red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads…. And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to give birth, to devour her Child as soon as it was born. She bore a male Child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron. And her Child was caught up to God and His throne… So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world.

The three characters prophesied in Genesis are now seen in a vision in Revelation fulfilling the prophecy. As prophesied the serpent is defeated by Jesus, the son of Mary. Mary is depicted in key moments throughout scripture emphasizing her role in the Gospel story. And here, in the last book of the New Testament, we see her described in very grand and royal terms. This is a very important woman.